A soldier carries a baby to board a U.S. C-130 military transport plane (background) which is on a mercy flight Sunday Nov. 17, 2013 at the damaged Tacloban airport, Tacloban city, Leyte province in central Philippines. Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful storms on record, hit the country's eastern seaboard Nov. 8, leaving a wide swath of destruction. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez) Bullit Marquez/Associated Press
Three Canadian military helicopters and their crew are being deployed to the Philippines to help with relief efforts in the typhoon-ravaged country.
Defence Minister Rob Nicholson says two of the three CH-146 Griffon choppers will leave today from CFB Trenton in eastern Ontario aboard a military transport plane. The third aircraft will likely depart on Tuesday.
He says the choppers will give Canada's Disaster Assistance Response Team — which is already in the Philippines — additional means to get to those most in need of assistance. It's not known when the third aircraft will leave.
Canadian soldiers on the ground in the Philippines are making clean drinking water a priority in their relief efforts.
Col. Stephen Kelsey of Canadian Joint Operations Command says a transport plane carrying a water-purification system is en route to the storm-ravaged country and will be in place by early next week.
It will produce 50,000 litres of safe drinking water a day.
The typhoon death toll is now at 3,974, with 1,186 others, including 47 Canadians, listed as missing.
"A lot of people are living under makeshift shelters that they've scrounged together out of the remnants of their homes," DART commanding officer Lt.-Col. Walter Taylor told CBC News from the island of Panay.
"Many of them are living in evacuation centres where they are crowded, six to eight families in one room," he said. "Access to potable water is poor and the hygiene and sanitation conditions are leading to the beginning of the spread of infectious diseases."
Philippines leader arrives in devastated city
Philippine President Benigno Aquino arrived in hard-hit Tacloban City on Sunday he sought to deflect criticism of the government response to Typhoon Haiyan.
The president arrived by helicopter and visited a medical centre. He has been criticized for the slow pace of aid distribution and unclear estimates of casualties, especially in Tacloban, capital of hardest-hit Leyte province.
The Philippines is facing up to an enormous rebuilding task from Typhoon Haiyan, with many isolated communities yet to receive significant aid despite a massive international relief effort.
The number of people displaced by the catastrophe is now estimated at 4 million and close to two million are reported to be both homeless and in dire need of aid.
An aid group on Sunday released amateur video showing waves washing away a house and submerging others in Hernani in Eastern Samar province after Typhoon Haiyan made landfall nine days ago.
U.K.-based Plan International says the video was shot by Plan Philippine's community development worker NicksonGensis, who was sheltering on the second floor of a house less than a few hundred metres from the sea.
The aid worker says the water was like a huge tsunami.
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